At the 2019 World Cadet, Junior and U21 Championships in Santiago, Chile, Egypt topped the table with 19 medals including seven gold, four silver and eight bronze.
Chile has been wracked by more than a week of often violent unrest over economic inequality, but that did not stop the tournament from being held. Nor were the demonstrations an impediment to Egypt, the African powerhouse nation in karate, coming first in a field that had 1,456 players representing 86 countries.
Feryal Abdel-Aziz, the Egyptian karateka, became world champion in the U21 female kumite -68kg. Abdel-Aziz, who won the bronze at the Karate 1-Series A in Santiago, defeated Russia’s Victoria Isaeva in the final after scoring two Yuko (2-0).
Egypt prevailed in the cadet and junior male team kata, defeating the US in the final. Egypt received a score of 23.68 points with unsu kata to top the US for the gold.
The next edition of the World Cadet, Junior & U21 Championships will be held in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2021. In the junior events, Egyptian Yasmin Nasr Al-Gewili dazzled spectators after winning the gold in the junior female kumite -48kg, defeating Russia’s Elizaveta Grigoreva (3-0).
Taha Tarek won the gold in the U21 male kumite -84kg. The current senior UFAK champion was on top form and beat favourite Mehdi Filali of France in a tight final. The Egyptian karateka controlled the bout but Filali produced a comeback with a late wazari. The Frenchman, karateka who is ranked sixth in the WKF world ranking, tried to recover but Tarek won the bout 3-2.
Ahmed Ayman added another gold in the junior male kumite -61kg. He edged Hussein Mammadli of Azerbaijan 2-1 in a very technical bout. Teammate Hazem Ahmed was also victorious, taking the gold in the junior male kumite +76kg. This final was one of the biggest upsets of the day as the Egyptian star prevented local hero Benjamin Nunez from winning the first medal for the organising country.
Basmala Mahmoud collected the gold in the under 54kg for juniors.
The four silver medals came from Mohamed Hussein in juniors kata, Fatma Abdel-Nasr in 47kg, Hossam Mokhtar in the -70kg and the women’s kata.
The bronze medals went to Karim Walid in individual kata, Nour Ehab in the over 59kg, Mahmoud Gaber in the 76kg youth, Mo’men Said in the -60kg in the U21, Abdullah Hesham in the 67kg in the U21, Abdullah Hesham in the over 67, Abdullah Mamdouh in the 75kg, Ahlam Hamdi in the over 55kg in the U21 and Youssef Emad in the -84kg.
Ashraf Sobhi, minister of youth and sports, congratulated the Egyptian delegation and the Karate Federation headed by Mohamed Al-Dahrawi for the “great achievement”.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 31 October, 2019 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.